We shall start shallow and work deeper, Appearance. Well what can I say other than WOW. This thing is huge, by far the biggest console to date. This is because it's crammed with things made from the far end of the periodic table by men in white coats. This monster can do anything it likes without and fuss, play games, run Linux, browse the web and cure natural diseases, before you can even begin to appreciate the glossy finish or the touch-screen buttons. The gloss finish is a nice touch, giving a modern feel about it. It will fit well with the home theater system and large HD television. The PlayStation 3 fits in wherever you put it, the kid's bedroom, the living room, kitchen, bathroom, shrine or even the dungeon. It has a sense of compatibility and complete control over everything it's near and has the face to make you not argue.
The touch buttons have a nice feel to them, means you don't shove anything out of the way by pressing a normal button too hard. There are a variety of faceplates too, Chrome on the 60Gb, 80Gb and presumably the upcoming 120Gb models, a matte silver finish on the 40Gb model and a darker finish on the 20Gb model. The release models of the PlayStation 3 feature more holes than the newer models for fans but also encompass multimedia card readers, PlayStation 2 backwards compatibility (whether it is Hardware or Software) and obviously the larger hard-drive. Looking into the face of the PlayStation 3 you will find a very tidy looking console, few ugly features like the slot-loading CD-ROM drive. When put in the correct place the PlayStation 3 is wireless so there are only 2 cables: Power and vision. This makes it look like a normal DVD player, until it's turned on.
XMB: This monster looks like Pamela Anderson wet with no clothes on. When turned on it looks as elegant, calm and collected as the Mafia brandishing machine guns. The background moves elegantly and is changeable and the icons move smoothly, these are also changeable. Everything inside the PlayStation 3's interface can pretty much be changed. The Infobar can be turned on and off, icons changed, background changed, fonts and other things can be customized till the cows come home. The Looks of the PlayStation 3 however do nothing to show the power within the machine.
Power: The power on this machine is just ferocious. Anything you can ask it to do it will with the lowest amount of fuss seen and not a noise can be heard unless your ears are as muscular as Arnold Schwarzenegger's arms. The specially developed Cell broadband engine can cope with absolutely anything a player can throw at it. That being said, the graphics card is made to match with its superb processing ability. The BD-ROM drive may only be a 2X speed drive but most of the games offer an install option so the games can load very quickly, eliminating many long load times. The hard-drive is a 5400 RPM 2.5" SATA notebook drive with the capacity depending on what you put in it or which SKU you purchase. The controller has enough power to last about 20 hours plus depending upon how many features are used and how aggressively it is used. It also links up to and idle PlayStation 3 in about 2-3 seconds wirelessly or instantly when charging via the cable. Graphics wise the PlayStation 3 is no slouch at all, HDMI up to 1080p NATIVELY, not up scaled. It also supports the same connection found on the PlayStation 2 although for whatever reason Sony limited this by default but an option in the settings quickly fixes that. There is also a program to emulate the PlayStation 1 built into every PlayStation 3 by standard. It is said that that a computer has to be 25 times more powerful than the system it wants to emulate and the PlayStation 3 is 35 times more powerful than Sony's own PlayStation 2. That's a small idea how powerful this console is. The processor packs 8 Synergy Processing Units, or SPU's, to process everything, 1 is reserved for the XMB OS, 6 are reserved for the games and the last one is reserved for a breakdown in one of the other chips.
Features: This has more features than a Swiss army knife, a fitted kitchen, 4 branches of Dixons and a wood burning stove. It is compatible with almost every video format used, probably every sound format, a lot of picture formats, DVD, Dual Layered DVD's, Flash cards, Memory Stick Pro Duo, MMC, Compact Flash cards, USB sticks, small planets we haven't heard of and technology made by men in white coats along with many other features such as the well known Linux compatibility, native 1080P output and motion control. As many features as this has, it does come at a bit of a price, £425 at release which by anybodies standards is pretty heft, a swift price cut sorted this out relatively quickly but for the amount of features you get built in, it's actually rather good value. With its built in Wi-Fi, DVD upscale, Blu-Ray drive, HDMI output, Gigabyte Ethernet port, wireless controller, frequent updates and unparalleled customer service the PlayStation 3 becomes relatively cheap.
Believe it or not, it was much cheaper than the Xbox 360 at the same time, The console cost £300, HD DVD drive was £90, wireless was £45, wireless controller came only with premium package, there was no built in HD DVD drive option available, it is as noisy as hell, breaks down more often than a nervous TV presenter, it's as subtle as a tank in a library and the backwards compatibility is about as useful as a cardboard cabbage. A big feature of the PlayStation 3 is the "Future proof" technology, being able to download the latest Blu-ray advancements, Operating system updates and other features means the PlayStation 3 could well be a wise investment even if games are not going to be played on it. Whilst not much of a feature, the almost silent fan will make mince meat of the conventional DVD player, Xbox 360, home theater system, built in DVD player, a child's chemistry set or even a vibrating chair.
Games: This is obviously a big part of a games console. A console without games is like swimming without water. Sadly the PlayStation 3 is on a bit of a square wheel at the moment. The games that come out are graphically parallel to the Xbox 360, despite being only first generation. However the games that are of any interest tend to be ports from the Xbox which is pretty bad. Things are slowly smoothing out though, sales are getting closer to that annoying white block Nintendo calls a console.
What amazes me is that Sony are rumored to have terrible software development kits and this makes it harder for the 3rd party developers to make games for them. THQ recently announced that some games for the PlayStation 3 will have better graphics than the Xbox 360, this carries about as much weight as saying the Xbox is made by Microsoft. It's obvious and inevitable as 3rd parties continue to improve their knowledge of the super console. Games which will cause sales surges are coming out in the near future including MGS4, GT5, Little Big Planet, Home (despite not being a game) and GTA4 (although this is not exclusive). I am expecting some killer new games to be out to take the wind out of even the mighty Wii. So the square wheel is starting to smooth out, with the year of the PlayStation 3 upon us then we may be seeing a new king to the console war, knocking the Wii off its long held platform with its rather annoying exercise games.
Conclusion: This large, stylish powerhouse is gaining momentum, despite having square wheels. In theory this is going to be a big year for the PlayStation 3, a spokesperson has officially announced there will be no price cuts in the near future, more downloadable content and a rather bold content from Sony saying that the year 2008 is the "key year" for the PlayStation 3 and that in this year we will see "everything that we've got" looks like Sony has some big things planned. With MGS4, GT5 making a possible appearance, Little Big Planet, Home and many other exciting exclusives the PlayStation 3 may just have one hell of a year and may have the legendary "Out of Stock" status which has been here with Sony's other two consoles
Free Ps3, Xbox 360, Xbox 360 Elite or Nintendo Wii